But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.” NIV
At this point in the book of Numbers, the scouts already have entered the promised land and returned with reports of the very large, very powerful, very frightening people who live there. The Israelites already have refused to enter the land. And, when Moses and Aaron attempted to convince them to take advantage of the promise and provision of God, the people threatened to stone them to death.
Now, they are wandering in the desert, and, they have run out of water. God tells Moses to take his staff and speak to a rock, and He will provide water for the people and their animals. Moses strikes the rock, water pours forth and everyone drinks.
Then this verse. God has just done the impossible. He has brought water out of a stone in the middle of the desert. In the midst of this miracle, He says to Moses and Aaron, “Because you didn’t trust me, didn’t treat me with holy reverence in front of the People of Israel, you two aren’t going to lead this company into the land that I am giving them.” MSG
Trust is serious business.
When I read this verse, especially the part that says, “you did not honor me as holy,” I was curious. I didn’t remember Moses not honoring God. So, I went back to the scene that I described above, and I found the part about Moses and Aaron being threatened by the people.
While I didn’t find reference to God not being honored as holy there, it does make sense to me that He was not. The Bible talks a lot about being faithful. Many times, those references are to God himself, who is always faithful. But, other times, we are called to be faithful. Revelation 2:10 says, “Be faithful even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.” NIV
It occurs to me that when the people threatened to stone Moses, he must have felt hopeless. He must have thought, “There is no way that I can get these stubborn people to cross into Canaan.” But, he didn’t say, in the face of those threats, “I don’t care if you try to stone me. This is what God said to do, and I’m stepping out on trust … I’m leaving now, so, make your decision — try to kill me or follow me to the blessings God has for you.” I wonder what would have happened if he had said that? Would God then not have spoken these words in Numbers 20:12?
God created us with free will. We can choose not to trust Him. We can choose not to step into His plan for our life, and we will surely miss the blessing that He has for us if we make that decision.
I think that the lesson that the lives of Moses and Aaron teach is this: Trust God. Honor Him as holy. Do not be overcome by worry or by fear. You don’t have the whole picture — God does. Trust Him.
I will think about that today.